Parabens are industrial chemicals used as a form of preservatives to withhold longer the life span of the products being used. Parabens have been widely used in the cosmetic, pharmaceuticals and food industries. Parabens main function is to protect the product from microbial growth. Parabens are so commonplace because of their low cost pricing, history long use since 1920s and the inefficacy of natural alternatives. Parabens are like SLES or SLS from my previous article. They are cheap to use and due to competition of other brand products, parabens found in many properties of a product especially in the cosmetic industries. Also, parabens come in many type of dilutions and brands. Every brand or dilutions comes from different process and therefore, the price strategy is also not the same for all types of parabens. Commonly found parabens in the chemical industries are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Less common ones are isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben. Therefore, in any skincare products the ingredient list which stated on the products can determine whether parabens are used by referring to the wordings or names above.
In many years, parabens has been called into questions and the controversy have arise many concerns. The most concern issue that has been brought up and lately been talking about is that parabens caused breast cancer. The reason is because high concentrations of parabens have been found inside the breast tumor, whereby the ability of parabens mimics estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone known to play a role in causing breast cancer. The person that found of such study Dr Philippa Darbre indicated that such parabens found in the breast tumor comes from the skin especially in the underarm positions. However, over the time there are many finding or saying from other professors that such case of breast cancer being the number one killer for women, cannot be taken into lightly but to further studies and investigated. Therefore as of to-date the time of writing, no direct evidence of parabens casual link with cancer. Other than that parabens also created allergic reactions. Our human skin tissue is a wonder of the world. Many different people have different types of skins that are not the same. Our skins are also affected by the food intake we consume daily, which is known as neutraceuticals (I will talk on this issue coming next). Therefore, parabens can only be allergic to people that are allergic to parabens same like if someone is allergic to aromatherapy, which is very hard to say. Studies also show that parabens contain weak estrogenic activities. Some estrogen in short is known to cause or create tumor that causes cancer. However, there is no thorough studies show that parabens with small dosage or low usage, which lead to small absorption into our skin, can cause the growing activities of estrogen.
There are a few substitutions for parabens. The well known type which is natural ingredients famously used ones are the grapefruit seed extract. However, studies also shown that such natural ingredients prone to be less effective. Other chemical preservatives used will be DMDM Hyadantoin, Methychloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazoline. This types of preservatives can only constitute very minimal to the ingredients for its acceptable level, which is less than 0.1% unlike parabens can go up to 0.75% at times. Therefore, the substitution of parabens might not be able to make the product last as long as where parabens are used.
Why use parabens if we are unsure of the safety and all. A lot of researches in the market shown the toxicology of parabens and also a lot of researches proof them to be wrong or need the case to be further experimented. There are no experimental data shows that parabens are toxic. However, my motto is still always remains that better be safe than sorry. After all, parabens effect is only for preservatives purpose unlike SLES or SLS, which also contains some washing agent effect. So folks, look for some product that is parabens free. Even if it does not last long, try buying something that is lesser in terms of volume. Instead of 1 liter shampoo, try to use something smaller volume like 200ml or 500ml, which can only last you within 3 to 6 months before finished using. A lot of cosmetic company, because of competitions and profit margin makings, nowadays; they care less of the consumers’ health. People would always want to sell at large volume like 1 liter to obtain more profits rather than 200ml whereby consumer behavior towards it is lesser. For food options, I always like to use organic food but however, we must sometimes beware not all organic foods are healthy in the sense that the food itself whether organic or not will also create problems to our human body like soya soy (I am going to talk about this later also).